After seeing him on the Colbert Report (or was it the Daily Show?) and hearing about how he’s the “World’s Most Wanted Hacker”, I had to pick up Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnik.

I honestly have only read the forwards and introduction so far. I got stopped before the first chapter because the following tantalizing hidden message hung at the start:

yjcv ku vjg pcog qh vjg uauvgo wugf da jco qrgtcvqtu vq ocmg htgg rjqpg ecnnu?

It’s a code, of course, so I had to give it a go. Looking over it a bit, you’ll notice the letter ‘g’ appears quite often (thanks Ghostwriter). I figured it must be a letter replacement code then, where each letter is replaced by another. Starting with ‘g = e’, I just typed in the rest of the alphabet, and lo and behold, the following decoder ring works!

true: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
code: c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z a b

Using it on the above message, you get:

what is the name of the system used by ham operators to make free phone calls?

The answer to which is “autopatch“.

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